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The French don't buy electric cars but it's not their fault

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The year 2023 was the first to mark the return of production for the automobile industry after three years very disrupted by the health crisis. But despite factories running at full capacity, France is still far from reaching peaks when it comes to electric cars.

In an article on the subject, the media Challenges reports that only 120 000 electric cars were produced in France in 2023. At the same time, more than 300,000 models were registered. Demonstrating that the vast majority of electric cars circulating in France have nothing French in them.

In detail, it is, almost logically, the two French automobile leaders who produce the most in the territory. Renault manufactured 77 600 vehicles, while the Stellantis group flourished with 40 000 electric cars made in France (mostly Opel Mokas).

Peugeot and Citroën, the bad students ?

To explain this glaring lack of production of electric cars in France, there is no need to go and look at the other side of the world. The answer lies on our borders, in Spain or Slovakia. It is in these countries, where labor costs less, that Peugeot and Citroën have decided to outsource a huge part of their production.

To another extent, the manufacturer Dacia has decided to relocate the production of Spring, its electric car model, to China. Going to this country and thus reducing costs as much as possible, Dacia proudly announced during the presentation of the 2024 version of the model that it was the “cheapest electric car in France”.

Producing French, a major challenge

In order to penalize cars coming from the ends of the world, notably Chinese brands, the French government launched at the end of last year a new scale for calculating its ecological bonus. The latter stipulates that eligible electric cars must be produced in France or in the European Union. The Dacia Spring is therefore excluded from this new ecological bonus.

While this new calculation method should help slow down the arrival of Chinese brands on the French market, it still does not resolve the issue of production in the territory. Indeed, Peugeot and Citroën, by building their cars in Spain and Slovakia, are in no way penalized compared to Renault which produces its Megane E-tech in France.

The hybrid, the providential solution

The absence of strong production of electric cars in France leads to higher sales growth lower than in other countries. France finds itself in a situation similar to that of Germany, with sales of electric cars lower than expected and alternative solutions developing.

On the other side of the Rhine, manufacturers are relying heavily on synthetic fuels. In France, it is rather hybrid cars that are popular. For the first time in the history of the automobile, the number of new hybrid cars sold over a year has exceeded that of thermal cars in 2023.

A demonstration of power for hybrid cars which are the big winners of this (too?) long adoption of the electric car.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116